‘They’re settling in really well’: Three orphaned bear cubs adjusting to new home at Manitoba rescue

Black Bear Rescue Manitoba has some new guests that will be calling the shelter home for the spring and summer months.

Judy Stearns, the owner of the rescue, said three black bear cubs came into their possession last week.

The trio of sisters are all three months old and were found in Waywayseecappo, Man.

“It was first thought that their mother was struck by a vehicle, but new information has come to light that is believed she was actually shot,” said Stearns.

She said after their mother died, they stayed nearby and were on their own for a couple of days until they were found in a culvert and caught by Natural Resources staff.

The cubs were taken to the rescue and Stearns said even though they were nervous and scared, they took right away to drinking milk out of a dish – which she notes is important as it limits human contact – and were eventually playing and goofing around with each other.

“After they had their first little meal when they arrived, they had a really good long nap. And that’s when they woke up after that and they wanted to play. But they’re settling in really well.”

She said each cub has shown their own personality. One is very bold, while a second sibling is extremely shy and the third is in between the other two.

Stearns said she never wants to see cubs orphaned and even though this is a tragic situation, there is a positive that has come from it. The sisters joining the rescue means their other bear cub Winston – who was found when he was just two-and-a-half weeks old – will have bear cubs to play with.

Right now, the cubs are separated as they are on different feeding schedules, but once everything lines up, all four bear cubs can be together.

“Winston really needs company. He’s a single cub that came in, which is not ideal for any cub. They’re very sociable and they like to play and they like to have company.”

She noted Winston has never even seen another bear – his eyes were still closed when he was brought to the rescue, meaning he never saw his mom.

Winston isn’t lonely, Stearns said, but once they can all be together, she knows it will benefit Winston.

“It’d be so much better when he’s in with those other cubs.”

Winston has been thriving, Stearns said, noting he weighs around 16 pounds, calling him a robust and chunky cub.

“His fur is beautiful and thick, he’s totally healthy. He’s very, very playful and high-energy. He’s right on target for where he should be for a bear cub his age.”

As for the three healthy cubs that arrived last week, Stearns said they don’t have names yet, but they will all start with the letter X, as the rescue names them alphabetically.

Come late fall, Stearns said all the bears will be released back into the wild where they can create a den to hibernate for the winter and then live the rest of their lives outdoors.

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